A Passport, A Safeconduct

It’s only thirty-two pages with a blue cover. This Cuban passport looks more like a safe-conduct than an ID. With it we can escape from insularity though it still doesn’t guarantee we can board an airplane. We live in the only country in the world where acquiring this document to travel requires us to pay in a currency different from that in which they pay our wages. Its cost of “fifty-five convertible pesos” means that the average worker must save his entire salary for three months to be able to buy this filigreed booklet with the numbered pages.

However, in this beginning of the 21st century it is no longer unusual to meet a Cuban with a passport, something extremely rare in the seventies and eighties when only a select few could show one. We became an immobile people and the few who left went on a foreign mission or departed into the finality of exile. To cross the barrier of the sea was a prize for the faithful and the great masses of “unreliables” could not even dream of leaving the archipelago. Fortunately, that began to change thanks, perhaps, to the influx of tourists who infected us with curiosity about what was outside, or the fall of the socialist camp, which meant the government could no longer award “incentive trips” to only the most loyal.

Now, when they become citizens of another country, my compatriots breathe a sigh of relief to have a new identification document that gives them a sense of belonging somewhere. A few brief pages, wrapped in a cover with the coat of arms of another nation can make all the difference. Meanwhile, that little blue booklet that says Born in Cuba, remains hidden in a drawer, in the hopes that one day it will be a source of pride, rather than shame.

*Considering that the Office of Immigration and Aliens retained my passport after my last application for an exit permit, have I become an undocumented?


36 thoughts on “A Passport, A Safeconduct

  1. Control by any means.
    By the esbirros that guards the city block, by the rapid response groups to intimidate the different thinker …

  2. @#34
    It appears you forgot some things … conveniently …
    If you drive under the influence, stopped by the police w/reasonable cause you’ll be arrested & charged; later you will appear in front of a judge.
    If applicable a trial date will be set, all the while you are PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY BY A COURT OF LAW, w/legal representation & in front of a jury of your peers.
    If you already have other instances of driving under the influence w/prior convictions it will count againstb you while you’ll have the availability/choices for counseling, probation & treatment.
    So … the choice to forget to mention these things might be3 construded as twisting the facts or better yet lying by omission.

  3. California has incarcerated 170 000 people in its’ prisons.

    Majority are there for minor offences like having a bottle of beer in hand. Yes, that is an offence in the usa. Your alcohol bottles must be wrapped in a non-transparent material so that the bottle and its’ content is not visible to people on the street.

    Heck, you get a prison term for having a bottle, even empty will do, lying on the floor of your car.

    And if you are caught three times in such an offence, you get 3 to 6 months in jail.

    Democracy and capitalism, made in usa. Control, brainwash and prison for dissenters!!!

    What more could you want?

  4. One would be forgiven for thinking this court order came from Cuba, but as you can see, it came from the Magistrate Court of the bsastion of “free pragmatic capitalism”, the usa:


    A judge decided to slap the court order on Twitter just be cause s/he can. Fortunately for Twitter, where democracy doesn’t exist, the money speaks, so their 100 000 dolars per hour lawyers supressed the order and won the argument that they can advise account owners about the Court’s order.

    They still have to hand over all the personal details, messages, everything.

    Quietly, the usa have asserted their right to prosecute anyone they think is violating their laws. No mattere who and where they are from.

    Global reach, the new world order. Just because you are French or Spanish, doesn’t mean that if “WE” don’t like you you are still safe.

    Careful, because we are watching you…

  5. About the regulations for travel …
    There is an interesting read in GACETA OFFICIAL de la Republica de Cuba
    dated Viernes 27 de Abril de 2007.
    Resolution #75 by Maria Gonzales
    Resolution #87/2007 by Felipe Perez Roque.
    I don’t know how to attach the document to here however: the site is http://www.gacetaofficial.cu/

  6. THE TELEGRAPH UK: Cuba lays-off state workers in privatisation drive -Cuba has begun the process of laying-off a tenth of its state workforce in a drive to push employees into small businesses that could mark the beginning of the end of the 50-year communist experiment on the island.

    The state labour union announced this week that the first of some 500,000 employees could expect to receive “pink slips” immediately, effectively terminating their employment in the public sector where, until now, almost 90 per cent of Cuba’s workforce have been employed.

    The lay-offs will begin in the ministries of agriculture, sugar, construction, health and tourism, according to Salvador Valdes, the leader of the Workers’ Central Union of Cuba (CTC). Workers, who on average earn a monthly wage of $20 (£13), were told to expect compensation of one month’s salary for every ten years on the job.

    Committees have been set up in each workplace to draw up the list of those jobs to be cut, the CTC said – a process that “will be free of favouritism, nepotism and paternalism”.

    The move is part of a raft of economic reforms announced by President Raul Castro last September designed to kick-start the private sector in a bid to keep the ailing economy afloat.

    The elimination of half a million state jobs by March comes with a drive to open up the private sector with Cubans encouraged to set up small businesses in activities that were once off limits to the labour force of five million.

    More than 30,000 Cubans have already received licences to work privately as restaurateurs, mechanics, street vendors and hairdressers.

    But the regime insists it is staying true to its socialist ideals with the imposition of steep taxes on earnings and the hiring of new employees to prevent accumulation of private wealth within the population of 12m on the Caribbean island.

    In a speech to the national assembly last month Raúl Castro, who officially took over as president from his ailing brother Fidel in February 2008, defended his effort to reorient the workforce.

    “The strategic economic changes are being made to sustain socialism,” he said. “They are to preserve and strengthen socialism, so as to make it irrevocable.”

    He emphasised the need to streamline the public sector. “Many Cubans confuse socialism with handouts and subsidies,” he said.

    Mr Castro’s comments followed the admission made by 84-year-old Fidel in a rare interview to an American magazine that “the Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.”


  7. ***
    HI ANONIMO–# 22. Good comment on socialism / communism. Economic damage always results. Compare the much better Cuban economy 50 years ago to what Cubans suffer through now. And Comrade Obama wants to change the U.S.A. into the United Socialist States of Amerikka. Patriotic Americans are resisting his agenda. We don’t want to copy Cuban poverty and loss of freedom. Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez recognize President Obama as a fellow traveler.
    HOLA ANONIMO–#22. Buen commentario en referencia a socialismo / communismo. Danos economicos siempre resultan. Compara la economia mucha mejor hace 50 anos a lo que sufrin los Cubanos ahora. Y Comrada Obama quiere cambiar los Estados Unidos a los Estados Unidos Socialistas de Amerikka. Americanos patrioticas estan resistiendo su agenda. No quieremos copiar la pobreza Cubano y la pierda de libertad. Fidel Castro y Hugo Chavez reconeczcan Presidente Obama como uno de ellos.
    John Bibb

  8. MIAMI HERALD:Economic reforms could hurt Castros
    -The economic restructuring under way in Cuba could ultimately hurt the Castro brothers, according to dissidents on the island. BY JUAN CARLOS CHAVEZ
    The labor reorganization that calls for laying off 500,000 Cuban workers by April, which began in several ministries Tuesday, could negatively impact Fidel and Raúl Castro, several dissidents said.

    In the next three years, the reduction in government payrolls is expected to affect as many as 800,000 workers.

    “I believe the general feeling is fear, apprehension and panic,” blogger Yoani Sánchez told El Nuevo Herald. “But it seems to me that those people freed from the government monopoly will channel their energy and talent in other ways and will gain social and political autonomy.”

    Cuba is in the midst of a plan to lay off 10 percent of its labor force. In the framework of the economic adjustment process that must be approved by the Congress of the Communist Party in April, authorities are also cutting subsidies and public spending.


    The reforms, which the government calls a socialist “model update,” include opening the country to foreign investment and the creation of urban production and service cooperatives. The economic decentralization encompasses expanding self-employment in 178 trades for those who meet the minimum requisites.

    Héctor Palacios, economist and independent journalist, said that the impact of these measures is further dividing the Cuban population.

    “I think it will take a lot of time to resolve this issue in the way the government wishes to resolve it,” Palacios said in a telephone interview from Havana.

    He regretted that there would not be an opening of the markets nor the encouragement of a participative democracy to generate confidence among citizens.

    “The only solution is to declare a state of law and an open economy,” he said. “People endure but in Cuba there is no other possibility because a disaster is imminent.”

    This week, the adjustments are hitting the ministries of the Sugar Industry, Agriculture, Construction, Public Health and Tourism, according to the Workers Central Union.

    The Cuban government estimates that throughout 2011 a total of 146,000 government jobs will be permanently eliminated. About 351,000 government officials will move to other occupations as part of the application of the economic adjustments.

    Of those 351,000 people, about 100,000 must become self-employed. In 83 self-employment job categories, hiring will be allowed only for people who are not relatives nor live with the self-employed. Until now, payment for labor was only authorized for government entities, missed societies and foreign enterprises.


    Juan Carmelo Bermúdez, spokesman of the illegal Party of the People, said from Santiago de Cuba that the labor restructuring is not being correctly applied.

    “There is general disappointment,” he said. “Many feel harmed and you can sense the people’s fear.”

    Press reports say that for the great majority of Cubans, “information has been scarce” and people are asking a lot of questions and expressing doubts about the process.

    “The option of self-employment is a life-saver but not an integral solution,” Bermúdez said. “We already went through this and people do not trust this type of decisions.”

    The average salary in Cuba is $20 per month. Last year, newspaper Granma said that the Central Bank was evaluating how to grant credit to the self-employed for development. In 2009, there was a total of 143,800 self-employed workers. This year, the government expects 250,000 additional people to lose their jobs.

    Contrary to the criticism and fears from internal dissidents, the hierarchy of the Cuban Catholic Church expressed support for the reforms and asked Cubans to “understand.”

    During the New Year’s Mass in the Cathedral of Havana on Saturday, Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino prayed for “the normal course of this renovating process for the good of all the people.”


  9. The only type of jobs that will not be affected by the cuts are the ones that keep the propaganda machine going ( lucky Dumbir ). Also the jobs that require excesive use of force for represive reasons will be kept by the Castro Brothers as they need a strong fist a short leash to rule over Cuba

  10. Still no simple and straightforward response from anyone on legitimate facts and issues I have identified as fundamental errors, becaue they ARE, made by the team “yoani”.

    Little wonder. Anyone with even only a little bit of life experience, no school needed here, knows that with the correct facts no one can debate and negate them successfully.

    To minimise the damage facts make to ideologies of no value, like that of “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” favoured by the pinup “girl” team “yoani”, only words of insult and calls to ignore the facts.

    Haven’t even started your own dictatorships and they are allready ignoring the call to a debate.

    Yet brazen enough to call their opponents in Cuba to accept a debate with them.

    Hypocrisy at its’ best.

    The good news: Damir and the facts are here to stay. Try and ignore that, “democrats”!

  11. “..conducted without “violations, paternalism, favoritism and any other negative tendency.””!! HOW ABOUT LAYING OF FIDEL, RAUL, HIS SON, DAUGHTER, SON-IN LAW AND ALL THE OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS FROM THEIR HIGH PROFILE AND HIGH PAYING JOBS?? HYPOCRITES!

    REUTERS: Cash-strapped Cuba moves ahead with job cuts

    Cuba began the process of laying off thousands of workers on Tuesday, according to a top union official, as one of President Raul Castro’s central reforms to the communist island’s economy picked up steam.
    It was not clear if dismissal of the state employees had begun immediately or if several ministries were starting to decide who should go. The government has said it plans to cut 500,000 workers from its bloated payrolls by March.

    “It is up to us to be the guarantors of the labor restructuring, which will begin (on Tuesday),” said the head of the Cuban Workers Federation, Salvador Valdes Mesa, according to state-run Radio Rebelde.

    He said the union would oversee the layoffs, initially targeting workers at the Sugar, Agriculture, Construction, Public Health and Tourism ministries, to assure they are conducted without “violations, paternalism, favoritism and any other negative tendency.”

    The job cuts are part of Castro’s overhaul of Cuban communism aimed at ending the Caribbean island’s chronic economic problems.

    Cuba, hit hard by 2008 hurricanes and the global financial crisis, is short of cash and has had to slash imports, freeze local bank accounts of foreign businesses and default on payments to creditors in the past two years.

    Castro wants to reduce the state’s role while maintaining control of an economy that will have a bigger private sector and less state spending.

    In most cases, laid off workers will be offered other jobs, which they can accept or turn down.

    Plans call for about 200,000 of the laid-off workers to shift to employee-run cooperatives converted from businesses currently operated by the state.


    The government also has begun issuing 250,000 new licenses for self-employment. For the first time, the self-employed will be allowed to hire workers.

    Cubans receive social benefits such as free healthcare and education, but earn on average the equivalent of about $20 a month.

    A second round of cuts will be conducted later, with at least 500,000 more workers slated to be removed from state payrolls over the next few years.

    The union must “convince (workers) of the need for these measures for the country’s economy, with the security that ultimately no one will be left unprotected,” Valdes said.

    Officials have said the government began cutting jobs as early as October, shortly after Castro announced his reform package.

    It was rumored, but not confirmed, that layoffs were postponed for a time while the self-employment licensing program was being set up because the government was wary of creating too much social dislocation.

    Workers at the Agriculture and Sugar ministries said on Tuesday they had been told meetings about the layoffs would begin this week.

    The government has said ministry and labor functionaries will determine which workers are worth keeping, based on their productivity.

    “We know that if there’s no productivity, there’s never going to be a raise in salaries. So it’s a necessary measure that has to be understood,” said Mayda Vega, an office manager in the Agriculture Ministry.

    “I imagine it will be a gradual process and not traumatic,” she said.

    (Additional reporting by Nelson Acosta; Editing by Tom Brown)


  12. The bottom line is that governments all over the world only retain passports of those that are under a court rule not to travel due to a trial in process or pending. ONLY IN CUBA PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING THESE INJUSTICES AND ABUSES BY A COMMUNIST REGIME while their families travel all over Europe just for shopping, buying LUXURIES with money that IT IS NOT THEIRS !!!

  13. que odio le tengo a la palabra no. no se puedes ,no puedes, no tienes,..porque tantos no cuando si debe ser la respuesta.no puede viajar yoani sanchez,no puede viajar farinas ,no pueden viajar las damas de blanco.pero por que? siempre es no, cuando sera el dia que se extermine esa palabra para los cubanos?.porque no como negativa, quizas o pronto,seria un futuro imperfecto,elio

  14. The Stealthy Spread of Socialism in the U.S.
    By K.E. Campbell
    The biggest challenge facing Republicans in the 112th Congress is not Barack Obama. It is not Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate. It isn’t high unemployment, repealing ObamaCare, the threat of Islamism and sharia in America, the deficit, or the looming insolvency of several (mostly blue) states. These, broadly speaking, are symptoms. The disease is socialism — or at the very least, a pervasive socialistic mindset.

    According to a February 2010 Gallup poll, “61% of liberals say their image of socialism is positive” and “53% of Democrats have a positive image of socialism.” Overall, 36% of Americans view socialism favorably.

    Winston Churchill aptly described socialism as “a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue [being] the equal sharing of misery.” As economist Thomas Sowell put it, “[s]ocialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

    A U.S. senator, Bernie Sanders, is an avowed socialist. Many more stealth socialist and similarly minded legislators walk the halls of our Capitol (like Rep. Maxine Waters, who threatened to “socialize” the oil industry Chávez-style). In the White House, the condition is as bad or worse. Most socialists take a more secretive tack than Sen. Sanders and MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell, the latter of whom recently declared on the air, “I am a socialist.” Newsweek once alleged that “we are all socialists now.”

    Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Friedrich von Hayek, and other notables have warned about “creeping socialism” and its undesirable outcomes. Recall that Reagan said, prophetically, “[O]ne of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine[.]” Why and how this failed political theory and its variants, including Marxism, are metastasizing in this country have been and continue to be well-documented.

    Despite its apparent prevalence and increasing “popularity,” the word “socialism” has a negative connotation to a majority of Americans — for good reason. Upton Sinclair, author, socialist and Communist dupe, once wrote, “The American people will take socialism, but they won’t take the label.” Modern-day socialists and their fellow travelers in the Democrat party know this, as does their dear leader. Stanley Kurtz, in his new book Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, wrote, “At every turn, Obama has disguised his socialist past, sometimes through grievous sins of omission, sometimes through opaque and misleading pseudo-confessions, and at other times through outright lies.”

    In Alinskyite fashion, most American socialists mask their true ideology by using populist-sounding rhetoric (political euphemisms) while incrementally imposing their radical anti-American agenda without identifying it as socialist. As Sun Tzu taught, all war is based on deception.

    In politics, language is key, and he who controls the language controls — or at least better influences — the debate. Constitutional conservatives, by nature, don’t typically seek “control,” and in this realm, they’ve too easily ceded ground. Socialist forces are winning the word war. And it’s imperative that they do, considering the poisonous snake oil they’re trying to sell to the electorate. As George Orwell, a socialist, wrote:

    In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible … Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism., question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness … Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, “I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so.” Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

    “While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.”

    Populist-sounding rhetoric. Political speech. Euphemisms. Phraseology. Deception. Manipulation. I’d add propaganda and agitprop. This is how the socialist infection is spreading. A steady dosage of disinfectant is needed to combat it. The battle for the hearts and minds of Americans is on.

    Barack Obama is already gearing up for the 2012 election, with a report last week that his campaign will be headquartered in Chicago. Don’t be surprised if he sticks with the theme of “change,” which at first glance makes no sense coming from an incumbent. But it makes perfect sense when one realizes that the change he champions was never simply from Bush to himself or from a Republican to a Democrat. No, President Obama seeks fundamental change — transformation — from core American principles, like free enterprise, self-reliance, sovereignty and liberty, toward socialism “in the name of economic fairness.”

    So “change” in this context is a euphemism, though many know exactly what it means. Many other euphemisms for socialism (including its various strains) are being deployed to varying degrees. In a quick, unscientific fashion, I compiled a partial list of them, a kind of pocket-guide to American “socialist speak.” Comments and additions are solicited.

    Almost always a euphemism More often than not Sometimes Otherwise fine words in danger of being co-opted
    Social justice Universal [health care] Social change Reform
    Economic justice The progressive movement Civic engagement Democracy
    Environmental justice Fair trade Neutrality Sustainability
    Community organizing Living wage Citizen action Liberalism
    Nationalization Too big to fail Democratic society Public good
    Communitarian Worker empowerment Fairness Populism
    New populism/populist Economic security Market excesses Democrat
    Corporate democracy Keynesian economics Working class Comprehensive
    Social responsibility mandates Afro-centric Women’s studies Change
    Government-sponsored enterprises Leveling the playing field
    The green movement
    Mixed economy
    Single payer
    Regulated capitalism
    Social democracy
    Redistributive change
    Third way
    Equitable society
    Liberation theology
    Open society
    Economic democracy
    One world
    From the bottom up/from below
    Redistribution of income
    Sharing the wealth
    Class consciousness

    Watch and listen for these words and ones like them. Republicans and non-socialist Democrats mustn’t be duped. They must be vigilant and identify and quash socialist incursions, disguised or not.

    Additionally, a prolonged offensive is overdue to counter the socialist scourge. At every opportunity, our elected conservative representatives should use their public positions to make a clear and convincing case for liberty, limited constitutional government, personal responsibility, and, as David Limbaugh wrote, “the wonders of America’s free-market system, which has produced unprecedented prosperity for Americans and contributed to the advancement of civilization throughout the world.” It’s not a difficult case to make, given that history and the facts are on our side.

  15. I think you are right Rick, while possesed w/the passion the Cuban blood fuels the discipline of tolerance applies.
    The way to exercise such is by overlooking (as you well stated) the rants of ALL provocateurs.
    I think most of the times it is very simple to make the difference between civilized constructive debate & destructive, negative contributions.
    While I respect the freedom of speech all of us have & some defended w/our blood, I believe freedom of speech as well as other freedoms come w/great responsibility.
    I belive as well w/great responsibility comes accountability to one another.
    I don’t propose to ignore these individuals, I propose to continue our conversations in our terms: w/civility & respect, w/measured reason & w/kindness, w/positive responses & w/the proposition of solutions for the future … who knows it may be near, just around the corner.
    Let us be accountable to one another wereas we agree in a topic or not there is somthing we have in commun … Cuba & our love for her.

  16. dumbir no one is apologizing for anything and certainly not to you. Your self-serving and ludicrous reaction to our minor debate was to be expected. You are as transparent, predictable and mature as an 8 year-old. Please continue “educating” the readers with your insipid, inane and inarticulate posts. Your “enlightened and civilized” defenders on the blog wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would I.

  17. I for one have simply chosen to overlook the rants from those that can do nothing but express their opinion with insults, scatological references and generalized attacks on an entire nation. Just as there are well meaning individuals in the ranks of the Castro regime be they doctors or teachers or first responders in disasters who while having to live under the control of the regime and unable to express themselves are nonetheless decent people that will as conditions improve hopefully also make themselves heard there are unrelenting fanatics who will only be cured by death.

    As for the individual Damir whose posts precede mine its obvious that no amount of discussion will change him so just ignore him, you will be better for it.

  18. Only who felt off a raft yesterday can say something like this:

    “..harsh debate is the backbone of democracy”

    Harsh debate being insulting your opponent from thinking with his own head insetad blindly accepting your views.

    Isn’t that what your Castro idols are doing right now?

    A hypocrite with zero brain.

    Don’t worry. Your “friendly” translator loves this anyway… S/he will be able to say whatever s/he wants becaue it is in accordance with the only allowed, party-sanctioned, politically correct ideology:

    “when the opponent is right, insult them and outscream them until they give up”

    Well, I am stronger and smarter than yhou. And I only talk facts. So, I win.

  19. Post 10, the 9/11 was the work of the dictatorship conrolling the usa with the Patriotc Act. You know the “law”: “Spy on thy neighbourg”, trust no one, report everyone.

    The same one Obama said he was going to tear apart if elected, and when did get elected, he said he needs it.

    This page too has been sanctioned. It lists a number of verified facts that the Congress Commission for 9/11 had collected. At the end, the African American lady, a member of the Commission came out and said that she was ashamed to be a citizen of usa and she was ashamed for what her government did.

    But religious fanatics are well known for believing in fantasies and impossible stories rather than facts.

    You choose what you believe. Facts = intelligent. Fantasies = stupid.

  20. Just to add to countinuous rants and useless posts like that under the number 9.

    One simple and quick look at Damir’s posts from the start will reveal a contained and civilised approach.

    No name calling, insults to any othr poster here, simply talking about the present and facts in Cuba.

    Insults have started from those few obviously confused and bitter losers, whose capacity to debate is equal to their IQ, which is now safely determined to be non-existent.

    I offer facts.

    I receive insults.

    You judge whether I, at certain point, too have the right to defend myself when the “friendly”, or not “translator lets the insults go off whenever someone dares to say something against the current “official” party line.

    And here, just in Castro’s CUba, there is one official party line. Whoever crosses the line, gets it.

    Not that I really give a damn what those inept losers thinkl or say, but if you want a civilised debate, then you have to curb the personal insults IMMEDIATELY.

    Now is too late to complain when your friends and party commrades have been insulting everyone from the day one.

    The team “yoani’s” hypocrisy (and that includes those who had insulted me personally for not agreeing with their ideology) continues. Their own posts are against Cuba and are negative and destructive in their darkness.

    Patronising , such as the post one and other similar following it, are too much too late.

    Merely a confirmation of the rampant hypocrisy.

  21. Cubans vote with their feet when they escape from Dr. Castro’s paradise island. There are 1.7 millions Cuban-Americans living in the US, and 600,000 Cubans in the rest of the world, for a total of 2.3 millions. The actual population in Cuba is 11.3 millions. The 2.3 millions living abroad represent 20% of the population in the island.

  22. Simba, I appreciate your comments but again you have gone off on the wrong tangent with a lazy and simplistic analysis of what I actually wrote. Read my comments again, tell me where in my last post or any other post in the past with my name on it have you seen me suggest that dumbir or anyone else for that matter, be prevented from posting. As a matter of fact on numerous occasions I have directly stated that he should be allowed to say whatever he wants to say without being censored. Your well-intentioned but condescending civics lesson on the meaning of democracy is not necessary, we didn’t just fall out of a raft a couple of days ago. It is presumptuous of you to assume that I know nothing of democracy and free speech and that you need to “school” me on setting a proper example. I was educated in US schools from K-12, served in the armed forces and have always defended the right of others to express themselves regardless of how heinous I believe their ideas to be. While you and others may feel that being more “civilized” towards the dumbirs of the worlds is the way to go that is your choice and and obviously your right. That is not my way nor my choice and I should also have the right to do so without being painted as anti-democratic. Debate, and sometimes harsh debate is the backbone of democracy.


    LATIN AMERICAN HERALD TRIBUNE: Cuba to Begin Mass Layoffs of State Employees-January 3,2011
    HAVANA – Layoffs planned to eliminate some 500,000 state jobs in Cuba this year will get underway this week, the communist-ruled island’s only legal union said Monday.

    The official weekly Trabajadores cited a speech by CTC chief Salvador Valdes in the eastern province of Holguin, in which he said it was the union’s responsibility to “be the guarantor” of the process of labor reorganization that will begin Tuesday.

    Valdes said that while this is “an administrative process,” the union must keep watch to make sure it complies with what has been established for each step of the process to reduce state labor rolls.

    The Cuban government estimates that in 2011 it will definitively eliminate 146,000 state jobs, while some 351,000 public servants will enter other forms of independent employment as part of a program of reforms and austerity measures.

    Of those 351,000, at least 100,000 will enter the field of self-employment, according to official estimates.

    The plan, which foresees the reduction of “inflated staffs” and the incorporation of 1.8 million workers into the non-state sector over a five-year period, will be ratified by the ruling Communist Party at its 6th Congress, set for late April.

    Valdes stressed that the CTC, as the workers’ representative, must “avoid violations, paternalism, favoritism and any other negative tendencies.”

    He also urged the government “to convince them (the workers) of the necessity of applying these measures for sake of the nation’s economy, with the security that, whatever happens, no one will be left unprotected.”

    The expansion of the private sector in Cuba, with the possibility of founding small companies and businesses, is one of the chief measures undertaken by the government of Gen. Raul Castro to “modernize” the socialist model and deal with the country’s economic crisis.

    In 2009 Cuba had a total of 143,800 self-employed workers.

    The government hopes that in 2011 some 250,000 more workers will enter that sector, and that the increase will boost government tax revenues by $1 billion next year. EFE


  24. Simba Sez: #9 Yubano, I hear you loud and clear. I know where you’re coming from. However in a free democratic society even Damir has a right to speak. Our society will be the stronger for it in the long run. Most people are not fooled by his twisted sadistic nonsensical prattling, and probably find him as obnoxious as we do, but I yet believe in his right to spew his vile stupid vituperative degenerative foolishness if he so chooses to do that. When we decide that certain people cannot speak we have reduced ourselves to the level of the dictators of Cuba. They too feel that certain individuals should not speak out for what they believe in. I would miss your point of view here, and I hope you continue to enlighten us, but maybe in a slightly less strenuous tone. Don’t even think of stopping sounding off. You have as much a right as anyone else, my friend.

  25. I like what the translator has to say regarding using moderation in our speech. To me, this list is a microcosm of what could happen in a bigger freer society when passions, indiscretions and self serving egoes run rampant, resulting in political discussions that turn off silent participants and readers, and therefore defeat the ultimate goal.

    I can imagine Castro-fascist agents wringing their hands and readying themselves to pounce and jump in to cause caos, disruption, and distrust among those of us who want to see a a Cuba that’s free of the Castro-fascists. Remember, they’ve had almost 100 years of training in disrupting, sacking and burning existing institutions, organizations and entire societies. What this all means is as Lenin used to brag*, we (free individuals and societies) will give them the rope, that they’ll hang us with. And trust me, they’ll try anyway they can.

    Sorry, I think I’ve veered off the subject, but when that character, Damir, reveals his inconvenience when crossing the Canadian border – never mind the videos of people half burned using the lotus pose to block their terror as they felled ninety floors to the ground on Sept. 11. His little trepidation is what matters to him, and justifies condemning the whole country and its system. I still commend him for baring his soul before a mostly hostile audience in this blog.

    *Some may argue that Lenin didn’t really say this , but communists have, through decades, tried to do their best to turn every tool they’ve been given against free societies. They sure as hell can’t produce much, so, for example, when South Korea fed and propped up the North for over ten years, they turned around and tested longer range rockets and exploded an underground atomic bomb. More recently, they’ve revealed that they’ve go a giant nuclear complex to refine uranium. That’s what you get when you cooperate with this lot.

  26. I am sure those of you that have been contributing to this blog for at least the last year or so know that most of the “disagreeable” language on this blog has been generated by, or been written in response to one particular sordid character who has gone by different names and/or associated people using the same name. He is known as damir or as I refer to him, dumbir. While all of us, myself included, would agree to tone down the rhetoric and discontinue the use of questionable language the character(s) in question will not do the same. So then it becomes a question of how do you address (or not)someone who clearly is not interested in open conversation but is clearly intent on slandering, misrepresenting the facts, desiminating propaganda and creating divisiveness? Some of the blog contributors have decided that this persons comments are to be taken at face value and that he should be addressed as a serious contributor to the blog. Others have tried to appeal to his sense of reason as if he were a fair-minded, well-intentioned and rational individual. And then there are yet others myself included who see this character(s) for what he is, a cynical, malicious, politically motivated malcontent who has no desire to find common ground with anyone who doesn’t agree with him. His purpose is destructive, not constructive. To my way of thinking attempting to have a well-intentioned dialogue with this person is tantamount to according credibility to his outrageous comments and fabrications. My past comments in this blog have hardly been restricted to attacking dumbir. I have commented on many other Cuba related topics and hope to continue doing so. However I will fervently continue my role as attack dog with the character in question and others who attempt to play the same role,unless I am censored by the english translator or those of you in the majority would like to express your desire to see me go disappear.


  28. BBC NEWS: Is Cuba set for major changes in 2011? -By Michael Voss
    Mirkeyis Calvo used to work in a state-run restaurant. Now she has converted the front room of her suburban Havana home house into “Miky’s Cafe”.

    It is a lunch-time trade. She sells coffee, milk-shakes and sandwiches to people whose heavily subsidised work canteens were closed as part of the government’s new cost-cutting measures.

    President Raul Castro has announced that 500,000 under-employed state workers will lose their jobs in the coming months.

    To help take up the slack, the authorities are in the process of granting 250,000 licences for Cubans to become self-employed or set up small businesses.

    Mrs Calvo was one of the first wave of applicants to get permission. But she is heavily taxed and smothered in red tape.

    Whether she is still in business by the end of 2011 could be one of the indicators of just how serious the Cuban authorities are about encouraging and developing this fledgling private sector.

    The sixth Cuban Communist Party Congress, the first to be held in 14 years, will take place in late April to discuss and ratify what will be the first major overhaul of the island’s Soviet-style economic model since the 1960s.

    The modest changes announced to date are a long way short of China’s free market reforms. Cuba is not about to revert to capitalism but a new class of entrepreneurs and small businessmen will start to emerge.

    The long-term political implications of this growing sector are hard to judge but the coming year could also see a degree of social upheaval as redundancies bite and subsidies shrink.

    Younger generation?

    There are no signs of any moves towards political reform or loosening of the one party state.

    Fidel Castro, who is 84, may have given up the presidency but he remains head of the Communist Party. In July he started re-appearing in public after four years out of the limelight, recuperating from major surgery.

    His 79-year-old brother, Raul, has acknowledged that the next Party Congress is likely to be the last one where the generation that led the Cuban revolution half a century ago remains in charge.

    President Castro has announced that a separate Party Convention will be held later in the year where the leadership question is expected to be discussed.

    The two politicians long considered as potential future leaders, former Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and a Vice President, Carlos Lage, were both sacked in 2009.

    President Castro has pushed through a series of cabinet changes, promoting many military figures into senior posts. At the moment, though, there are no clear cut younger front runners to take over.


    The fate of 11 prisoners of conscience who are refusing to go into exile as a condition of their release is likely to dominate the debate over human rights in Cuba in the immediate future.

    The first half of 2010 was an international public relations disaster for Cuba. A dissident hunger striker died in jail, so re-focussing world attention on the plight of political prisoners.

    Then the prolonged hunger strike of another opposition figure, Guillermo Farinas, ensured that Cuba’s human rights record remained in the spotlight.

    Under a breakthrough agreement brokered by the Roman Catholic Church and the Spanish government in July, Raul Castro agreed to release 52 of Cuba’s most prominent prisoners of conscience. The majority are now in Spain along with their extended families.

    But a dozen of the 52 are refusing to go into exile. So far only one of them has been freed and allowed home, raising concerns that the authorities may be having second thoughts about allowing vocal critics to remain on the island.

    If the remaining prisoners are all released it could pave the way to an easing of relations with Europe and possibly the US.

    The European Union is currently reconsidering its position on Cuba in the light of the releases, and has ordered its foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, to explore the possibility of improved ties with Cuba.

    Cool, not thawed

    Cuba’s relations with its longstanding nemesis, the United States, have eased marginally under President Barack Obama but further rapprochement in 2011 will be difficult following the Republican Party gains in the US mid-term elections.

    One of the most visible signs of the change are the tens of thousands of Cuban-Americans flying into Havana each month to visit relatives.

    Under the Bush administration such visits were limited to once every three years. The number of Cuban-Americans making the trip from Miami has quadrupled in just two years to around 300,000. That is expected to jump by up to 30% again in the coming year.

    There has also been a flurry of cultural exchanges after the US administration moved to improve “people to people” contacts.

    The New York Symphony Orchestra is due to perform in Havana in 2011 following in the footsteps of the American Ballet Theatre and the jazz legend Wynton Marsalis.

    Several leading Cuban musicians, including Los Van Van and Silvio Rodriguez, have gone the other way across the Straits of Florida and played to US audiences.

    But the decades-old trade embargo remains firmly in place. Legislation that would have lifted all restrictions on Americans travelling to Cuba died in December before it could be voted on in Congress.

    The new Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a prominent Cuban-American strongly opposed to any moves towards weakening US sanctions against Havana.

    The continued detention of Alan Gross, a US contractor working on a USAID-financed project to promote democratic change on the island, has also soured relations.

    Mr Gross has been held without charge for more than a year on suspicion of espionage. His wife says he was only helping Jewish groups set up internet access and the US state department has described the case as a “major impediment” towards improved ties.

    For the authorities in Havana , it is the detention of the “Cuban Five” which remains a major focus for anti-American campaigns.

    The five convicted spies are serving long sentences in the US. The Cuban government say the five were infiltrating violent anti-Castro exile groups rather than committing espionage.

    There was an initial flurry of expectations that these former Cold War adversaries might finally settle their differences, following the changes of leadership in both countries.

    Few now expect 2011 to prove the breakthrough year.


  29. hola hermanos cubanos,buenos dias yoani,voy hacer un pequeno bosquejo sobre este tema del pasaporte “cubano”,como tu bien dices,”que valides tiene el pasaporte cubano”?.por supuesto ninguna,.por que han de pagar los cubanos,en dollars el “documento que los identifica como tal”?.por la tan poca valides que tiene y la desverguensa y el chantaje que con artimanas utilisan el ampa desgobernante en cuba,para como salamandra extraer de forma rapas, la moneda,que tanto necesitan para el sosten de esa flamante dictadura del ploretariado.es una desverguensa que mis compatriotas sean delos pocos ciudadanos en el universo que necesiten emplear moneda diferente a la que se utilisa para la circulacion nacional.mi hija vanessa ,antes de la muerte de (su abuela)mi madre visito la isla,para conocer a su hermana(generacion Y)yudaisy y demas familiares que ella queria conocer.,a su regreso le pregunte, que te gusto y que no?.estas fueron las respuesta de una nina inocente que visita una dictadura,chequearo mi pasaporte varias veces,y me (increible y perversos,por tratarce de una menor de edad)preguntaron cual es tu pais,y vanessa,respondio soy americana,pero vengo a conocer mi familia cubana,hay algo anormal en esto,?dice que el rufian de “immigration”le devolvio el pasaporte y con sarcastica ironia le dijo “bienvenida a cuba”,la madre de vanessa me confirmo lo antes dicho por mi hija.so como dijistes en el video sobre tu salida de cuba en immigracion(no me canso de mirarlo)eso algun dia mas temprano que tarde,se acabara,porque la libertad de movimientos esta acvalado en la declaracion universal de los derchos humanos y los desgobernantes de cuba son signatarios de la misma.yoani,farinas,todo mal tiene un final y el de ellos ya esta cerca.YOANI TIENES MUCHAS RASONES,EL FUTURO ES DE USTEDES,LO9 VAN A VIVIR Y DISFRUTAR COMO SE MERECEN……!!!!!.EN MI DIARIA LECTURA DE MI TORAH! COMENCE UNA PETICION DE LIBERTAD PARA CUBA Y SALUD PARA MI HERMANOS DISIDENTES!!!!!.QUE LA ESTRELLA DE DAVID ILUMINE SUS VIDAS.PATRIA Y NO MAS MUERTES!!!!!.DE USA CON AMOR ELIO ESQUIVEL.

  30. ***
    HI ENGLISH TRANSLATOR–#1. Good job–and good actions. The dirty words and stupid rants do not help. Like my ex Army sergeant said, “Vulgar language is the sign of a stupid person!”
    Poor Cubans–their government treats foreigners better than it treats their own people.
    HOLA TRADUCTOR INGLES–#1. Buen trabajo–y buen acciones. Las palabras sucios y desvariaraciones tontos no ayudan. Como dijo mi ex sergento del Army, “Lenguaje vulgar es la sena de un individuo tonto!”
    Pobres Cuanos–su mismo gobierno trata mejor los extranjeros que trata su misma gente.
    John Bibb


    How to Apply for Your First, Lost or Stolen Cuban passport
    Cost if dealing directly with the Cuba Interest Section in Washington DC.
    $350 (processing fee)
    $20 (if the application is send by mail)
    $5 (mailing fee)

    Cuban Passport Renewals
    If your Cuban passport has expired (six years after issuance), you must renew it for a new one and will need to submit:

    Original expired passport
    One photograph of 2 inches by 2 inches taken from the front with nothing in your hair and no glasses.
    Directly with the Cuba Interest Section
    $350 (processing fee)
    $20 (if the application is sent by mail)
    $5 (mailing fee)

    You must then extended your renewal every two years by applying with a Cuban passport office and pay the following fees:

    $160 (processing fee)

    The Government of Cuba does not recognize the US nationality of US citizens who are born in Cuba and may not recognize the US nationality of those born in the US to Cuban parents.

    These individuals will be treated solely as Cuban citizens and may be subject to a range of restrictions and obligations, including military service. The Cuban government may require Cuban-American citizens to enter and depart Cuba using a Cuban passport.
    $20 (if the application is sent by mail

    Cuban-American dual nationals should be especially wary of any attempt by Cuban authorities to compel them to sign “repatriation” documents. The Government of Cuba views a declaration of repatriation as a legal statement on the part of the dual national that she/he intends to resettle permanently in Cuba. In several instances, the Government of Cuba has seized the US passports of dual nationals signing declarations of repatriation and has denied these individuals permission to return to the United States.

    Cuba does not recognize the right or obligation of the US Government to protect Cuban-born American citizens, whom the Cuban government views as Cuban citizens only. Cuban authorities consistently fail to notify the U.S. Interests Section of the arrest of Cuban-American dual nationals and deny US consular officers access to them. They also withhold information concerning their welfare and treatment.


  32. Pingback: Tweets that mention Generation Y » A Passport, A Safeconduct -- Topsy.com

  33. To Those Who Comment Here:

    If you review the comments you will see that the group of people who join the discussion here is ever shrinking, I’m sure because it’s simply not a pleasant place to be.

    Aside from the Avalanche’s news items (which I actually enjoy — at least they provide useful information)… and the occasional serious comment, the discussion section has deteriorated into a place for a few people to throw the same obscenities back and forth back and forth back and forth back and forth — honestly… it’s really become tedious.

    As a result, this comment section is not even close to meeting the standards Yoani established for civilized dialog on this blog.

    Yes, you all have the right to free speech, so please, go to the nearest street corner and shout your obscenities there, as you have every right to do.

    I have adjusted the spam settings and have limited links to one per comment.

    Hopefully we can, once again, make this a space for real, thoughtful dialog, about things that matter.

    Your Not-Feeling-All-That-Friendly-Today English Translator

Comments are closed.